Apart from, say, every time you open the Daily Mail, visit a men’s rights website, read a “scientific” analysis of gender difference or talk to my dad, have you ever heard it suggested that men are the true victims of prejudice in our society? I have. Either I hang around with deluded self-pitying tossers, or man, my finger’s totally on the pulse.

According to a piece in today’s Observer, men are now the winners in the Battle of the Victims:

In The Second Sexism, shortly to be published in the UK, David Benatar, head of the philosophy department at Cape Town University, argues that “more boys drop out of school, fewer men earn degrees, more men die younger, more are incarcerated” and that the issue is so under-researched it has become the prejudice that dare not speak its name.

It’s interesting (but also idiotic) to think of the quest for gender equality as actually a battle to decide who’s having the crappest time. That’s the really depressing thing about these books; they reinforce precisely the gender stereotyping that leads to mutual disadvantage. But it’s not a sodding competition! It never was! (And Professor Benatar, here’s a clue: more men are incarcerated because they commit more violent crime! It’s not rocket science! Which is good, since men are probably better at that…)

I’ve always felt that men are disadvantaged by gender prejudice. If pushed, I’d say nowhere near as much as women. If women killed male partners at the rate at which men kill female partners, I can’t help thinking we’d have no hesitation in considering it a gender-motivated crime. Moreover, there’s no male equivalent to women being denied abortion or even emergency contraception. That level of discrimination – where what’s beneath your own skin even isn’t your own – is not something I believe men have to come to terms with on the same level. So yeah, I can be dragged into the “who’s suffering the most” debate. I’d still contend that it’s not the sodding point.

Expectations placed on men and women because of the genitals they happen to be born with are unrealistic and cruel. We should be fighting those who seek to normalise and perpetuate this with shitty, selective “science” – including Susan Pinker, also quoted in the Guardian piece. I’d suggest, at its most basic level, our ideas of male and female difference still rest on the idea that women are inferior. Female babies are more likely to be unwanted and even killed; grown women are valued less when they’re no longer capable of producing other, presumably better people. But men can lose out due to this value system. I don’t believe many feminists today dispute that.

But god, this “men are the new victims” shit drives me insane. They only work “longer hours” because so much of the work women do isn’t even counted as work! And where’s THEIR sodding Ann Summers I-Scream van, encouraging them to get their cocks out for the girls? We don’t even acknowledge most of the shit that surrounds women because there’s just far too much. And because instead of getting on with fighting fundamental battles about “essential” difference, we’re now left firefighting against all the men’s rights bollocks that’s coming at us from all sides.